Munshi, Kanaiyalal Maneklal

Munshi, Kanaiyalal Maneklal


Born Dec. 30, 1887, in Bharuch; died Feb. 8, 1971, in Bombay. Indian writer, historian, statesman, and public figure. Wrote in English and Gujarati.

Born into a wealthy Brahman family, Munshi was educated as a lawyer. During 1950–52 he was minister of food and agriculture; from 1952 to 1957 he was governor of the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Munshi began his literary career as a journalist, contributing from 1915 on to M. Gandhi’s journal Young India. Munshi’s world view was decisively influenced by nationalistic ideas partly inspired by Western European thinkers, particularly T. Carlyle, from whom Munshi adopted the belief that the course of history is determined by the deeds of heroes. Munshi’s views are reflected in his historical novels, including The God of Gujarat (1918–19), The World’s Beloved (1920–21), The Emperor (1922), and Long Live Somnath (1935), which depict the heroic past of Gujarat.

In his novels about contemporary life, such as Whose Fault Is It? (1924), The Dreamer (1924), and Retribution (1931) and his dramas Uncle’s Moon (1948) and Two Bad Men, Munshi harshly criticized the foundations of social and family life from a conservative position. He also wrote Gujarat and Its Literature (1935). Munshi abandoned his literary activity after India won its independence in 1947. Munshi’s ideological evolution led him to extreme rightist positions, which resulted in his break with the Indian National Congress Party. He contributed to the massive work The History and Culture of the Indian People.


Chaturvedi, Sitaram. Munsiji aur unki pratibha. New Delhi, 1948.
Sarma, P. K. Gujarati aur usaka sahitya. New Delhi, 1960.